- Germany plans to send 16 Biber bridge-layer tanks to Ukraine.
- Tanks set up assault bridges to help troops cross streams, ditches and other obstacles on the battlefield.
- The Biber tanks are the latest to be added to Ukraine’s growing arsenal of Western weapons.
Germany plans to send 16 Biber bridge-layer tanks to Ukraine to help its forces “overcome water or other obstacles in battle,” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.
The first six systems will be delivered later this year and 10 more systems will follow next year, Germany’s Federal Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht said.
The package also includes transport, repair and training, along with the vehicles themselves.
Tanks carry and deploy assault bridges to help troops cross streams, ditches and other battlefield obstacles, and can cross a 60-foot gap in minutes, according to Military Today.
The Biber tanks, based on the main chassis of modified Leopard 1 main battle tanks, are the latest to be added to Ukraine’s growing arsenal of Western weapons.
Germany also recently agreed to transfer other weapons to Ukraine, including 15 Gepard anti-aircraft tanks, and recently delivered several Multiple Mars II and pzH 2000 missile systems.
Until February of this year, Germany had a policy of not sending weapons to war zones, but made a historic exception after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Despite its promises, Berlin has faced criticism for delays in delivering the promised weapons.
The United States has also recently sent Ukraine HIMARS, short for High Mobility Artillery Missile Systems, which have been credited with bolstering Ukrainian forces against Russia.
Ukraine has launched a new counter-offensive in the south of the country, aiming to retake the city of Kershon, which fell at the start of the Russian invasion. The port city is located in a delta of the Black Sea and the Dnipro River.
The fight for control of the river system was hinted at last month when the US agreed to supply 18 patrol boats to help Ukraine protect its rivers as part of a $450 million security aid package.
The package included two 35-foot small-unit riverboats, six 40-foot naval combat ships and ten 34-foot Dauntless Sea Ark patrol boats, the Defense Department said Thursday.
“These are primarily to protect the rivers and enable Ukraine to maintain its control over the rivers. They can also be used in nearby coastal areas,” a senior defense official said during a Pentagon briefing.